A Lancashire Constabulary car was written off and an officer injured after a suspected Defender thief deliberately rammed it following a high-speed chase. Officers had been called to a farm in Gisburn just one evening this week after the Land Rover Defender was reported stolen. The information was circulated over the police radio and road policing officer PC Stephen O’Boyle spotted the wanted vehicle on the A56 minutes later so he flashed his lights and sirens for the Land Rover to pull over. The driver didn't stop and set off at high speed through a red light. PC O’Boyle gave chase but, as he caught up, the suspect slammed on the brakes and reversed towards the Police car in an apparent attempt to force it to crash. The officer narrowly avoided an impact by reversing out of the way in a dramatic escape manoeuvre. He reversed into a side road close to Hazel Street and called off the pursuit as ‘too dangerous’ to both the public and himself.
However, the Land Rover was reversed around the corner, turned around and driven directly into the police car at high speed, crushing both cars. The police Vectra road policing car was a write-off. The suspect ran off and PC O’Boyle, despite suffering from whiplash, gave chase on foot into the nearby Holland Pies factory in Baxenden. A 35-year-old man from Rochdale has been arrested on suspicion of dangerous driving, aggravated vehicle theft, driving while disqualified and wounding with intent to cause harm.
Chief Inspector Gary Crowe said, 'PC O’Boyle was extremely lucky to escape serious injury. He acted in the finest traditions of Lancashire Constabulary and everyone in the Roads Policing Department is extremely proud of him.'
A spate of Land Rover thefts in the Ribble Valley recently prompted Lancashire Constabulary to begin stop-checks this month on high-value SUVs and 4x4s.